Joe Biden lays out his COVID-19 economic plan in a New York Times editorial piece; Jacqui Heinrich reports.
The largest super PAC supporting President Trump’s reelection will spend $10 million in three crucial general election battleground states arguing that former Vice President Joe Biden’s long been soft on China.
The move by America First Action Super PAC comes as the president the past month has taken an increasingly hard line against China – where the global coronavirus pandemic originated – after earlier praising Beijing’s response to the outbreak in January and February.
But news of the ad campaign also comes as Trump’s reelection campaign is stepping up efforts to paint Biden – the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee – as weak against Beijing and as public opinion polling shows an increasing percentage of Americans angry at China’s handing of the coronavirus outbreak.
The super PAC announced on Thursday morning that starting Friday, it will spend $10 million to run a broadcast and cable TV, digital and direct mail campaign titled “#BeijingBiden.” The group says their media effort will run through the end of May in the key battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which Trump narrowly flipped from blue to red in the 2016 election, helping him upset Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and win the White House.
“For 40 years Joe Biden has been wrong about China,” says the narrator in one of the commercials. In another ad, the narrator emphasizes that “China stole American manufacturing.” The three states where the spots will run have experienced job losses to overseas markets in recent decades.
All three commercials – each tailored to a specific state – use a clip of then-Vice President Biden speaking during a trip to China in 2011 saying, “I believed in 1979 and said so and believe now a rising China is a positive development.”
One of the ads highlights the president’s implementation of a travel ban against China in late January, a move that Trump and his allies have repeatedly spotlighted when facing criticism that the president and his administration severely downplayed the burgeoning health pandemic earlier this year and were slow to react.
“A global crisis, President Trump took action, but Joe Biden attacked Trump after the China travel ban,” the narrator says. The ad then uses audio of the former vice president saying “xenophobia and fear mongering” in discussing the president’s action.
The Trump and Biden campaigns have traded fire over whether Biden used those words to describe the travel ban. The nonprofit fact-checking group Politifact noted that “around the time the Trump administration announced the travel restriction, Biden said that Trump had a ‘record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering.'” But the group added that “Biden has not directly said that the restrictions were xenophobic.”
The super PAC is also unveiling a new website – titled BeijingBiden.com – full of opposition research spotlighting Biden’s ties to China and Beijing’s failures in combating the coronavirus outbreak.
America First Action Super PAC President Brian O. Walsh argued that “at a critical time when China has infected the world, it’s important Americans understand that Joe Biden has spent over forty-years catering to China’s wishes. He’s a pro-China globalist running for President promising to fix the problems he helped create.”
But the former vice president campaign is firing back, stressing that “Joe Biden called on Donald Trump to lead. He publicly urged him not to believe China’s spin about the worst public health crisis in over 100 years, and to insist that our CDC experts be given access there.”
And campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates charged that “despite repeated warnings from our intelligence agencies and medical experts, Trump spent vital weeks praising China’s response as successful and transparent while deceiving the American people about the extreme threat we faced and failing to prepare our country.”
Trump has already come under attack from Biden, his campaign and allied Democratic groups for comments he made earlier this year downplaying the coronavirus crisis. Numerous video and audio clips of the president have appeared in pro-Biden super PAC TV ads slamming Trump. The president’s also been criticized by Democrats for repeatedly praising Beijing’s coronavirus efforts and specifically Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency,” Trump tweeted on Jan. 24.
As late as Feb. 27, the president said at a White House briefing, “I spoke with President Xi. We had a great talk. He’s working very hard, I have to say. He’s working very, very hard. And if you can count on the reports coming out of China, that spread has gone down quite a bit.”